White House hopeful Ben Carson dropped out of Thursday’s GOP debate and signaled that he is unlikely to remain in the Republican presidential fight much longer.
“I do not see a political path forward in light of last evening’s Super Tuesday primary results,” the one-time tea party favorite said in a statement after logging another series of near-last place finishes. “However, this grassroots movement on behalf of ‘We the People’ will continue.”
The neurosurgeon and political newcomer, who rose to fame in 2013 after dressing down President Barack Obama at the National Prayer Breakfast, stressed that he “remained committed to Saving America for Future Generations.”
He will not attend the next debate in Detroit, and is expected to formally suspend his struggling campaign after saying his piece at the annual Conservative Political Action Conference this weekend outside Washington in the Maryland suburbs.
“Gratefully, my campaign decisions are not constrained by finances; rather by what is in the best interests of the American people,” he said. Per media reports, Carson also has had enough of the rhetorical sparring.
“I pray to God that we can wake up before it’s too late,” Carson told the Lexington Herald-Leader on Monday about the political blood lust this presidential race has stirred among an increasingly angry electorate.
Carson’s inability to sway enough evangelical voters away from front-runner Donald Trump or Senate challengers Ted Cruz of Texas and Marco Rubio of Florida during early primaries and nationwide caucuses may have finally taken a toll on the once-optimistic candidate.
His decision to drop out now underscores how dramatically political fortunes can change.
Back in November, Atlantic scribe Molly Ball wondered if Carson, who had suddenly sneaked up from behind headline-grabbing Trump and briefly flirted with top tier status, might just be able to go the distance.
A winter of discontent later, the answer is resoundingly “no.”Carson’s plan to capitalize on his outsider status never quite caught fire once voters began seriously whittling down candidates.
Poll positions to date
· Iowa: fourth place (secured 9.3 percent of the vote)
· New Hampshire: last place (2.3 percent)
· South Carolina: last place (7.2 percent of the vote)
· Nevada: fourth place (4.8 percent)
· Alabama: fourth place (10.2 percent)
· Arkansas: fourth place (5.7 percent)
· Georgia: fourth place (6.2 percent)
· Massachusetts: last place (2.6 percent)
· Minnesota: fourth place (7.3 percent)
· Oklahoma: fourth place (6.2 percent)
· Tennessee: fourth place (7.6 percent)
· Texas: last place (4.2 percent)
· Vermont: last place (4.2 percent)
· Virginia: last place (5.9 percent)
· Alaska: fourth place (10.9 percent)
In the dozen-plus nominating contests that have taken place so far, Carson has never finished higher than fourth. He’s only scored support in the double digits twice — the strongest showing was the 10.9 percent support he enjoyed in Alaska — and has amassed only a handful of delegates (eight, to be exact). Support in Congress was equally anemic; Maryland Republican Andy Harris is the only one to endorse Carson.
What may have been even more damaging is that his many stumbles were typically perpetrated right in plain view.
He repeatedly missed cues to join fellow rivals on stage Feb. 6 during the GOP debate, comically sabotaging the anticipated shouting match before anyone had had a chance to begin slinging insults.
Two weeks later, desperation got the best of him, compelling Carson to beg somebody — anybody — to light into him in the debate so he could get some speaking time during the February 25 debate.
Flawed as he may be, one political observer saw fit to bid Carson a fond farewell.
“Not everyone can run for President and step down with their reputation still intact,” Abby Huntsman, whose own father, former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman was similarly savaged during the 2012 presidential cycle, shared via Twitter. “This country is better bc of people like Ben Carson.”
Contact Rojas at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter at @WARojas.
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